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The origins of political support for democratic governance in post-communist Romania: testing the social capital hypothesis

[journal article]

Dragoman, Dragoș

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Abstract Democracy has finally become a success story in Central and Eastern Europe, against all incertitude and dangers. Yet the trajectories of the countries in the region are not similar and the region has been divided into groups of countries. The quality of democracy in those countries seemed then to diverge, questioning the stability of the new democratic regimes during transition, when the support for democracy is crucial. This research intends to map the political support for democracy in Romania though our findings indicate the opposite. In order to explain those divergent patterns of democratic transition, many scholars emphasize the importance of a given range of cultural factors, namely the social capital. Although appealing, the social capital hypothesis was put to test and rejected in numerous transition settings. Using comparable survey data from Romania, we test the hypothesis by taking into account competing factors. Our findings indicate that the support for democracy is less explained by social capital that it is by more classical factors, like civic attitudes, economic resources and human capital. These findings question the claimed importance of social capital for the fundamental support for democracy and point towards citizens' attitudes and resources. This focus on attitudes and resources seems to be increasingly salient in recent years dominated by the economic crisis.
Keywords democratization; social capital; transition; Romania; post-communist society; democracy
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 637-656
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 12 (2012) 4
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works